Monday, December 06, 2004

Commando Correspondents

From the Fairfield County Weekly. Click title to link to full story - PolPop

Armed with computers, cell phones and digital cameras, today's soldiers are the real embedded journalists.

by Brita Brundage

The e-mail came from 27-year-old soldier Ryan McNutt, who returned from Iraq last April. In plainspoken language, it voiced his support for the troops in the 343rd Quartermaster Company. In mid-October, 18 reserve soldiers in that company refused orders to transport fuel down dangerous Iraqi roads from the Tallil Air Base to Taji, north of Baghdad, because their trucks were not properly armored, the fuel was contaminated and they had no armed escorts. Four members of the unit considered “ring leaders” will probably be court-martialed, involving prison terms, while others will likely receive reprimands. The company commander was relieved of her command. Contacting their families via e-mail, the North Carolina reservists involved were able to generate instant media attention to the lack of proper equipment and unsafe conditions in Iraq, illustrating a growing unease and resistance among the part-time soldiers sent to fight the war.

McNutt spent a year on the same air base, working with the 110th Maintenance Unit. He knew what kind of sorry shape those Humvees were in because he was one of the guys improvising ways to armor them. As far as he was concerned, the 343rd Quartermaster should never have been sent on one of Iraq’s most dangerous stretches unprotected in the first place.


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